When we highlight the impact Bison athletes have had on the community it is easy to trace the giving mentality all the way back to the top of the athletic program. Gene Taylor has made himself visible in the community by working on both boards of the United Way and ShareHouse. Since arriving in Fargo in 2001, Taylor has made giving back to the people of Fargo one of his main goals.
Bison Illustrated: You are on the board with both the United Way and ShareHouse, what has drawn you to these great organizations?
Gene Taylor: “I think the United Way is a charity that has affected so many people in so many areas. …It’s not just one particular area and that’s why I have always given to the United Way, because the money can go to so many great causes and it’s directly affecting our local community. So, that is one I have always had my eye on. I said if I ever got the chance to serve on the board it would be a very special board to serve on and I just think if you’re living in a community like this you need to give back as much as you can. … Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation group is more of a personal thing for me because of some situations with my family. So, when I’m talking about the United Way as a matter of fact, ShareHouse benefits from the some of the stuff the United Way does.”
BI: What are some of your responsibilities being on the boards of both?
GT: “I support all the different functions that they have, whether it’s the backpack drive, the school supply drive, or other fundraising events. And just helping them make decisions. On the board that’s something that you do, you help the staff by guiding them to their decision making and assist them wherever you can.”
BI: How have you been able to get your athletes and coaches involved in the community?
GT: “We get a lot of community involvement with our student athletes. Whether it’s reading in schools, or the blood drive, or the Halloween party; all of those things we ask them to do. And the coaches’ get involved a lot of the time individually directly to support the people in the community. We have been doing that for quite some time, long before I got here.”
BI: Bison athletes are more present in the community than ever, why is that?
GT: “I think it’s more as people find out that our athletes are involved they want the presence of the athletes whatever the cause may be. We have taken it to our SAAC and our coaches to tell them that these are the events going on. We encourage them as well. It helps the kids at a young age to give back. It’s a resume builder and we encourage them to be a part of it. I wouldn’t say I have personally enhanced it’s just the more visible we are in the community, the more request we have gotten.”